Performance director Neil Black has defended British Athletics’ selection policy after being forced to pick just one male sprinter for the European Indoor Championships.
In a 48-strong team, Ojie Edoburun is the only man who will contest the 60 metres at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow next month, where Scotland’s Laura Muir will seek a second golden double on home soil.
I don’t think it means there’s a problem, or athletes are running badly, or the standard is wrong. It just means athletes didn’t meet the standard.Neil Black
Reece Prescod was the only man to achieve the qualifying standard of 6.60 seconds but has opted against competing, while Edoburun was eligible for selection by virtue of his 100m times last summer.
Double European indoor champion Richard Kilty ran 6.64secs in Birmingham on Saturday and questioned why British Athletics had set such a difficult qualifying time in comparison to the mark of 6.78s set by European Athletics.
Black insisted it was not embarrassing to field just one male sprinter in a home event, adding: “We had a very clear policy which said the qualification mark is 6.60. That’s been the men’s mark since the European Indoors in 2013.
“It’s a standard that many people historically achieved. It’s never been questioned in the past and we’ve all been comfortable with it. This year, for a combination of reasons, athletes hadn’t met that standard.
“I don’t think it means there’s a problem, or athletes are running badly, or the standard is wrong. It just means athletes didn’t meet the standard.”
Black believes Muir will thrive on the pressure of retaining her 1,500m and 3,000m titles in front of a home crowd and the 25-year-old enjoyed the perfect preparation by smashing Kirsty Wade’s 31-year-old indoor mile record by five seconds in Birmingham on Saturday.
Asha Philip (60m) and Andrew Pozzi (60m hurdles) will also defend their titles, although Pozzi’s selection is subject to him proving his fitness ahead of the championships.
A record group of nine Scottish athletes includes the nation’s most decorated track and field athlete Eilidh Doyle and European indoor 1500m bronze medallist Chris O’Hare, who is making the step up to 3,000m.
Elsewhere in Birmingham on Saturday, Asha Philip finished second in the women’s 60m behind double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson.
Holly Bradshaw missed out on a British record in the pole vault but took victory with a clearance of 4.81m, beating Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi, who came fourth.
World Indoor Samuel Tefera champion set a new world indoor record in the 1500m with a time of three minutes 31.04 seconds.